London Short Walk – Green Park Station to Apsley House via Mayfair and Knightsbridge

London Short Walk – Green Park Station to Apsley House via Mayfair and Knightsbridge


The ninth stage of this walking tour starts
at Green Park Underground station then meanders though Mayfair, Hyde Park and Knightsbridge,
before finishing by Apsley House, former home of the Duke of Wellington. There’s a link
to a map of the route below. From Green Park station walk along Piccadilly
with Green Park to the left. Across the road, Clarges Street is home to the Kennel Club. The Devonshire Gates, now incorporated into
the boundary fence of the park, were once the entrance to the Duke of Devonshire’s residence
demolished soon after the First World War. White Horse Street, opposite, follows the
course of the now underground Tyburn River. At the end, just past Turmeaus, a popular
specialist tobacco and wine merchant with a touch of class, enter secluded Shepherd
Market, home to some rather nice restaurants, Victorian pubs and boutique shops. Continue through to Curzon Street where Heywood
Hill is one of London’s leading bookshops. Next door, Trumpers, an equally famous gentleman’s
hairdresser and perfumer, is another shop which offers the opportunity to buy a present
with a difference. Follow the road to Berkeley Square where a
nightingale once sang and where Annabel’s, exclusive nightclub is situated next door
to the one time residence of Clive of India. Turn into Hill Street then right into Farm
Street passing the Church of the Immaculate Conception and almost certainly a Rolls Royce
or two. By Thomas Goode’s china shop, a specialist
in luxury, holder of two royal warrants and undoubtedly proud of it’s long standing association
with the royal family, turn towards the Grosvenor Chapel which was the model for many churches
built in New England. It was attended regularly by future US president Dwight Eisenhower during
his wartime stay in London. Pass James Purdey and Sons, a shop specialising
in country pursuits, on the way to Grosvenor Square, home to the American Embassy with
statues of presidents Reagan, Roosevelt and, as could be expected, Eisenhower in attendance. After the embassy take Upper Brook Street
in the direction of the trees in Hyde Park. At the end turn by the show room of car manufacturer
Aston Martin, where looking in the window is allowed and free, towards Marble Arch,
now marooned on a traffic island, but in grander times the entrance to Buckingham Palace. Over at Hyde Park follow one of the diagonal
paths towards the centre. On reaching the Serpentine walk along the water’s edge to
the bridge where the road over passes a couple of art galleries then the Princess Diana Memorial
Fountain. After Rotten Row, the tennis courts and Coalbrookdale
Gates exit right. Opposite, a statue of famous explorer David
Livingston is recessed in a wall of the Royal Geographical Society Building. Follow the perimeter of the park towards the
Albert Memorial which faces the Royal Albert Hall, one of London’s leading concert venues.
Walk round to the far side of the building, past a second less well known statue of Prince
Albert then down the steps towards the Royal College of Music. Head left and then right into Exhibition Road
where it’s possible to undertake a self guided tour of Imperial College London, one of the
very best universities in the world. Further along, both the Science Museum and
Natural History Museum are free to enter and extremely popular. Then, to experience relaxation within a work
of art, visit the cafe at the Victoria and Albert Museum, just over the road and around
the corner. From the V&A continue past a busy cabmen’s
shelter to the London Oratory, a significant place of prayer with an opulent interior where
respectful visitors are welcome. During the cold war it was used as a dead letter box
by the KGB. About 250 meters further on, taking a peak
inside Harrods will confirm it is more than just another department store. Across the junction by Knightsbridge Station,
opposite Harvey Nichols, another highly regarded department store, McLaren sells cars and Rolex
watches. Next door, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, which overlooks Hyde Park, offers five
star luxury. Pass the French Embassy, less luxurious but
also overlooking Hyde Park, before turning into Wilton Place, home to the Berkeley Hotel
and St Paul’s Church which once counted the Duke of Wellington among it’s congregation. Enter left into Wilton Crescent. Beyond the Embassy of Luxembourg follow narrow
Wilton Row towards the secluded yet popular Grenadier pub where the gate to the side leads
to Old Barrack Yard. Under the arch at the end follow the road
as it bears round towards Knightsbridge then head in the direction of Park Lane’s Hilton
Hotel to Hyde Park Corner. Column fronted Apsley House, once the home
of the Duke of Wellington, is now a museum and art gallery, many exhibits having been
acquired as a result of his wartime exploits. The large roundabout, once part of Green Park,
is home to a number of military statues and memorials, most notably the Wellington Arch
and Equestrian Statue. Finally, the third exit leads down Constitution
Hill to the entrance of Buckingham Palace.